Season’s change brings visitation boost
The early thaw and spring semester break are seeing international media, regional group meetings, school field trips and tour bus groups returning to Crazy Horse Memorial. Visitation just for the first half of March was up 69 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
Recent visitors included Clyde Bellecourt, executive director of the American Indian Movement Interpretive Center in Minneapolis. The co-founder of the AIM civil rights group has visited with Ruth Ziolkowski many times and his family in 2003 presented Crazy Horse Memorial with an official AIM flag, which is displayed in the original wing of the museum.
A delegation of South Dakota-based horseback honor flag carriers called the Lakota Riders met with Memorial officials to discuss holding a ceremony for military veterans at Crazy Horse in July.
Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning comic actor Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Boss”) and his wife, Kayte, made their first Crazy Horse visit. Meanwhile, retired pro basketball star Bill Russell returned for what is becoming at least a yearly stop on his travels.
Chinese exchange students and school groups from the Rosebud Reservation, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Peru State College in Nebraska, Marietta College in Ohio, Grand Junction, Iowa, and the local Custer School District also recently toured.
The Memorial also hosted BBC and New York Times reporters and photographers on separate assignments, each involving several days of interviewing.
Crazy Horse also hosted meetings convened by the Black Hills area Ducks Unlimited, National Park Service units, Salvation Army, South Dakota Veterans Home, Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce, and public agencies and contractors combating the infestation of mountain pine beetles affecting the region’s forest.